Just over a week into his 76th year, Jimmy Greaves will settle into an armchair somewhere in Essex on Sunday afternoon to no doubt run a critical eye over the latest in a long line of would-be pretenders to his throne as Tottenham Hotspur’s greatest-ever goalscorer.
Harry Kane will stride out at Wembley carrying the hopes of the Spurs’ fans on his broad shoulders and he will lead the line against a Chelsea side that has already felt the full force of the 21-year-old’s attacking prowess.
Kane began 2015 as he has subsequently carried on, in spectacular fashion, with two goals and an assist to inspire Spurs to a 5-3 win against Chelsea on New Year’s Day.
The young striker has further cemented his status as a fans’ favourite at White Hart Lane by netting a second-half brace to win the North London derby while last weekend he fired home an injury-time equaliser against another of the capital’s Premier League contingent, West Ham United.
At half-time on Sunday, the White Hart Lane stadium announcer called on fans to pay tribute to Greaves to mark the former frontman’s 75th birthday.
It is on occasions such as these that many fathers and grandfathers become all gooey-eyed and nostalgic as the returning hero is presented to the crowd.
‘What a player he was’ or ‘They don’t make ‘em like that anymore son’, is normally the chatter as minds wander back to the ‘good old days’.
However, the younger generation of fans who hold the cockerel close to their heart would have been looking around forlornly for a glimpse of the great Greaves on Sunday.
The man who has rattled the back of the net more times than anyone else in Spurs’ history – 268 goals in 381 games – has not been back to this particular part of North London since being used as a makeweight in the transfer that saw Martin Peters swap the claret and blue of West Ham for the white of Spurs in 1970.
Greaves, a boyhood Spurs fan, had spent the previous nine seasons terrorising defences across England and beyond on his way to building a reputation as arguably the most potent and prolific goalscorer the domestic game has ever seen.
After spending an unhappy six months at AC Milan – where he registered nine goals – Spurs manager Bill Nicholson brought Greaves back to London for a record fee of £99,999 in December 1961.
Already boasting three hat-tricks on the international stage, the East End wonderkid signed for the Rossinieri following four stellar seasons at Chelsea, for whom he netted 132 times in 169 appearances after making a goal-scoring professional debut in 1957.
Greaves served notice of his phenomenal appetite for goals the previous season by hitting the target more than 100 times for the Chelsea Youth side.
The first of Greaves’ 44 England goals came on his debut against Peru in 1959.
He would go on to represent his country 57 times, scoring a record six hat-tricks and remains the most prolific scorer in England’s history in terms of goals-per-games.
Wembley provided Greaves with the most bittersweet moment of his career as he was forced to watch Geoff Hurst gain immortality with a World Cup Final hat-trick in 1966.
Greaves began the tournament as England’s first choice striker but got injured in a group game against France forcing him to miss the quarter-final and semi-finals.
Although declared fit for the final, his replacement Hurst had impressed Sir Alf Ramsey enough to keep his place for the clash with the West Germans and the rest as they say…
Three games and one goal later, Greaves called an end to his international career in August 1967 primarily because his flamboyant persona both on and off the field did not sit well with the regimented style of Ramsey.
Just four years later, at the age of 31, a disillusioned Greaves retired from the game for good after spending one season at Upton Park.
Despite making a brief George Best-esque return, turning out for the likes of Brentwood and Barnet, Greaves admits he spent most of the 1970s battling alcoholism.
However, he claims to have not touched a drink since 1978 and a relatively successful media career followed including weekly columns in both The Sun and The Sunday People.
For a generation of fans he is best remembered as one half of the Saint and Greavsie duo on ITV when he and former Liverpool striker Ian St John hosted a Saturday lunch-time show which ended in1992 when Sky secured rights to the newly formed Premier League.
In an ideal world, Sunday’s League Cup Final between the two clubs for whom Greaves plundered a combined total of 400 goals would seem a perfect way to mark the milestone birthday reached by the man who now follows the well-trodden path of many ex-pros on the after-dinner speaking circuit.
Greaves has reportedly declined an invitation to be officially inducted into the Spurs Hall of Fame more than once despite the efforts of many teammates and ex-players at the club to convince him otherwise.
Forty-five years after his departure from White Hart Lane Greaves is evidently still hurt by the way he was forced out of the club.
The Spurs fans will no doubt be bellowing out ‘He’s one of our own, he’s one of our own’ in homage to Kane during Sunday’s final, as the Walthamstow boy will be looking to continue a fine breakthrough season.
It remains a curious and somewhat shameful fact that perhaps the greatest Hotspur of them all will not be among the 90,000 spectators watching on at Wembley.